Studio Time – And Other News

Great news from Sarah Brown’s social media pages yesterday. Some more good news would be most welcome.

There is such conflicting stuff I’m seeing at the moment when it comes to live music. Who knows where we’ll be by the summer?

I’m not feeling very hopeful. The 1975 have cancelled all their 2021 dates, meanwhile Field Music have just announced a new tour for October – even in January, that seems ambitious.

We booked for Scritti Politti Cupid And Psyche ‘85 tour in September but…yeah, it’s already starting to look doubtful.

Simple Minds still have dates in March for France and Germany – yet to be rescheduled again. I guess they’re just abandoning them outright? Confirmation of a cancellation would be good right now.

My flights with EasyJet to France and Italy have been cancelled – with no dates for rescheduling so….

It doesn’t bear thinking about. Anyway.

Some good news, at least.

The Eye Of The Beholder

A chat and a bit of a look-see at my new fangirl treasure…

I think this must be from 1982 – perhaps in Berlin – despite looking up Max Kohr and it showing him based in Cologne. There’s a caption on the back that Google Translate says translates as “soon in our city”, so it could have been taken anywhere in Germany…or elsewhere in Europe, even.

Isn’t it FABULOUS?! 🥰🥰🥰

Hanging Around – With My Man In Germany

Back in May I had a chat with Ronnie Gurr at Hanging Around Books about a photo of Jim that I would have liked to have gotten a copy of from the photographer who took it, but I looked into their prices (without enquiring with them directly) and saw they wanted over £1000 for a print!! 😱😱

The conversation moved on to the topic of a Record Mirror cover, and the use of a photo of Brian McGee in his undies that Ronnie had taken when with the band on tour in Germany in the late summer of 1980.

He said to me “this (see below) is the photo I submitted for the cover, but they went with the one of Brian instead.”

I sat looking at the screen in a mixture of awe and disbelief. Awe that such a fabulous photo of Jim had been stowed away unseen for so many years, and disbelief that the editor at Record Mirror snubbed the use of this photo for one of Brian in his togs!

Not only that, but the music mag then goes on to erroneously name Brian as “Mike McNeil”. Geezo! They don’t even get the erroneous name correct!

Anyway, 40 years down the line, I was in fangirl raptures to see such a wonderful photo of Jim. Since seeing it, I have been hankering for a copy and over these months I have every now and then been virtually nudging Ronnie for a copy of the photo.

AT LAST! The day arrived yesterday. I received three photos in total. The photo above of Jim which measures 10×8 inches, the black and white group photo below of the band on the flight staircase, which measures 7×5 inches, and the one below that of the band by the Berlin Wall, which measures 6×4 inches.

All three are wonderful, new and fairly rare treasures. All three photos were taken by Ronnie. But of the three, of course that one of Jim (for me) is the most highly prized. It is now in a frame by my bedside. The b&w band photo is framed and sitting atop the other bedside drawer.

If you would like to get prints yourself, you can contact Ronnie via email at: hangingaroundbooks@gmail.com

All of the photos featured in the Hanging Around Books photozines are available to order as prints. You can view the catalogue of books available by visiting hangingaroundbooks.com (just click the link!)

A New Gig…In Retrospect

A new bootleg has been uploaded to YouTube from the ever elusive but ever fabulous Art & Talk. This one hails from the Real To Real Cacophony Tour of 1979/80 and is performed in Hamburg on March 5th, 1980.

And although still seen as the Real To Real Cacophony Tour, there are tracks from Empires And Dance being performed, namely, Capital City and Room.

There’s only part of Capital City that’s been recorded. A shame, really, as I love it. I really do. But…not too much of it is missing, so it’s okay.

The recording is a true bootleg. Done by a member of the crowd, rather than it coming from the mixing desk. So you get a sense and feeling from the crowd – the vibe that they’re feeling. And the general feeling is that they are well up for it. Esp. one very excited, squealy young(?!) woman. Who can blame her? I reckon that would be me too – seeing them back then. I usually feel like that just listening in on a gig like this some 40 years down the line!

Also great to hear such a rousing display from the crowd for encores. And they are treated to two for their efforts. White Light/White Heat and Room.

The highlight of the set for me? Calling Your Name and Citizen (Dance Of Youth). Also had wished Factory had been complete because it was sounding well braw too.

The band were tight, but here and there I felt I detected that Jim wasn’t quite – “on” that night. But…it’s hard to tell without a back up of visuals, etc. The times he did seem “on” though, well…I don’t have to say any more, really. (Cue “squealy girl”. Lol)

I really enjoyed listening to it though. And will give it another play later on today. Put it this way – if TARDIS’s were real and I was allowed to go to one gig in the past and I was told it could only be THIS one – I’D BE THERE IN A HEARTBEAT! I’d bite your hand off – as Jim would say. Lol

Rescheduled Dates For Simple Minds

At last! Some more rescheduled date information. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

As follows:

These are mostly for German, French and other continental dates that were imminent, as well as the UK and Irish dates too.

If you can’t see your city/date, check the official Simple Minds social media platforms.

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Intrigue: Tunnel 29 – Escaping East Berlin

This story is incredible and the corresponding podcast is one of the best produced podcasts I’ve heard.

Part docu-drama, part narrative by journalist Helena Merriman, it tells the story of Joachim Rudolph, a defector and refugee that escapes from East Berlin in the early months of the enforcement and communist DDR crackdown on the Berlin Wall on the east side in 1961.

Free from the east just a few months, he hatches a plan with some fellow students at university to build a tunnel from the west into the east to free family and friends divided by the wall.

It is a “must listen” piece of amazing true story audio drama.

Broken up into 10 parts and just over 3 hours long, I implore you to take the time to listen.

It’s an incredible story of brute strength, determination, and absolute unabashed heroism!

A link to the BBC Long Reads article on it can be found by clicking HERE

And you can find the podcast link HERE

Woe-gan House Freeze Off – “40” Tour Dates, 2020

I “wakened up” (as a certain Mr Kerr would say) at 3.30am having had a mixed and slightly fitful sleep. The reason? I had decided when it was announced Jim would be on the Zoe Ball Breakfast show on Radio 2 a couple of weeks back to bite the bullet and head on in to see him. Well…that was the hope.

My thinking being…if the news is big enough that he’s on with Zoe Ball, he’ll be there in the studio, NOT on the phone!

I got myself ready and had a taxi booked by 4.30am. My target was the 5.08am train to St Pancras.

I was actually running early and made the 4.50am train in! I got to St Pancras at 5.30am and made my target of being outside Wogan House (adjacent to Broadcasting House, where the Radio 2 studios are based) by 6.15am.

The celeb spotting started almost immediately with Paul Gambaccini leaving the building just a few minutes after I arrived.

Also shortly after I arrived, a man appeared and stood near me.

Firstly, there was no Zoe Ball. Nicki Chapman was presenting for her this morning. That was the first slight worry.

I was listening in while standing outside freezing my tits off. Ian Waite appeared and walked through the doors. Then some 45 minutes later he left again.

And just before 8am, Ken Bruce appeared and walked in.

After the Strictly news with Ian Waite, Nicki said “and Jim Kerr will be coming in later…” and I thought “OMG! YES! I have made the right choice coming down here!

Subsequent mentions after that she had changed it to “and I’ll be chatting to Jim Kerr…” Oh, shit! Why have you changed the wording, Nicki?

Once the 8am news happened I was thinking “he’ll be here soon. He’ll be here soon. Any minute now.” Then there was a thing on Thunderbirds. “Okay, any minute he should turn up. He’ll be on soon. Come on, Jim! Where are you?”

Then the traffic report happens. And then it all became too clear as Nicki said “I’ll be talking to Jim Kerr next.” Well…he hadn’t appeared. There are no other doors for him to enter through. FUCK! He’s phoning in from Glasgow!

*sigh*

As much as I was thinking before today “it’s the risk I take. If he’s there, he’s there. If not then…I won’t get disheartened.” Pfffft! That’s what I DELUDED myself into believing anyway.

So, he was a no show. The man who came and stood near me had been with me the whole time. As soon as it was apparent Jim was not coming, so walked off. So he was obviously waiting for Jim too. At least I wasn’t the only saddo hoping against hope. Lol.

I walked off too…but was still listening to the show and Jim talking to Nicki. I heard the song too, which, did not register with me until today is a King Creosote cover! Of course!

So…the first gig I have lined up for 2020 has more significance than I first anticipated. But NOW…I may see a Simple Minds gig BEFORE King Creosote. For we had TOUR NEWS! Jim actually did announce a European/UK tour for Feb/Mar/April 2020. See below! Obviously all further details are available through Simple Minds’ various social media.

And so, despite trying not to be disappointed about not seeing Jim…I was a little. You know. It was an effort. Up at 3.30am. Out the door at 4.30am. At Wogan House by 6.15am. Stood there until 8.40am, freezing to death as I had not put enough layers on, needing the loo, but also thirsty and gasping for coffee.

I consoled myself by going to a Starbucks and having a spiced pumpkin latte and a lemon muffin.

I then walked for miles and ended up at Shaftsbury Ave and into China Town. I just walked about wasting time.

More compensation, this time in the form of a chai latte and (see pic) a lovely slice of passionfruit cake.

I had a gift with me for Jim. It’ll have to wait for a future time.

Finally…for your lugholes…here’s For One Night Only (unless you are a MEGA Simple Minds fan! One night is NEVER enough! Lol. And I mean all the innuendo that is laced with. Yes! Lol)

I’m off for a lie down!

Priptona Talks – To Jaine Henderson: Part Two

Here is part two of my interview with Jaine Henderson.

Sometimes things were not without some bizarre set of dangers, like the time Jaine found herself a hair’s breadth away from being jailed for “possession of a concealed weapon”.

Lights would fuse. Wires would fray. Things needed repairing on the spot and the easiest way for Jaine to repair things was to carry a flick knife. It was easy to keep in her pocket and meant she wasn’t having to carry a bunch of screwdrivers and other tools that couldn’t be as easily carried around as a single flick knife. The flick knife could cover nearly all aspects of repair work.

At one gig, the manager of the venue was unsettled by this finding. “He was not happy that I was carrying a flick knife, despite me reassuring him it was purely for repair work purposes. Seemingly feeling unnerved, the manager asked me for the knife and I gave it to him. Later that evening, the manager walked past me and placed the knife in my jacket pocket. The next thing there are two police officers approaching me, preparing to arrest me for ‘possession of a concealed weapon’. I had to plead my innocence. Tell them that the knife was only for work. That I was a lighting technician and used it purely and only for lighting repair work. I was carrying my passport with me so I could show them who I was. Had I not had my passport with me, they’d have charged me on the spot and I would have spent the night in a police cell. As it was, I was instructed to go to the local police station the following morning. I was then formally charged and summoned to court.”

The case was quashed. Jaine had eyewitnesses to say that the manager had returned the knife to her moments before the police arrived. That there were no threats made to use the knife in any other way than for the lighting repair work. The police retracted their statements which suggested that Jaine had made a threat to use the knife on someone. The judge threw the case out and the charge was dropped.

The Real To Real Cacophony tour saw the band travel over the North Sea and tour mainland Europe for the first time. Starting out in Germany at Kant Kino. The first leg of the tour towards the end of 1979 travelled through Germany and into Belgium before the band take a plane across the Atlantic for what is now a visual landmark bit of history, when Simple Minds perform at the Hurrah’s Club in New York and are recorded for a feature on The Old Grey Whistle Test.

The tour continues in Europe with dates in Sweden and Denmark before the band return to the UK for dates across the country.

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Jaine and David Henderson at Jaine’s lighting desk, circa 1979. Photo by Carole Moss.

Midway through the Real To Real Cacophony tour, David left being the sound engineer with Simple Minds and shortly after sets up the Hellfire Club with Jacqueline Bradley. It was an important venue for aspiring new local bands providing much needed rehearsal and recording space in Glasgow’s West End. It was many a fledgling band’s first exposure to recording and production in studio space.

Jaine left the lighting tech role with Simple Minds on the eve of the Empires And Dance tour that set off to continental Europe at the end of August, 1980. It was the band’s most extensive European tour to that date, scoring the coup of being the support for Peter Gabriel.

A natural creative flow in which an emotional connection for a band and its musical style caused a change an artistic direction for Jaine. A short lighting tech gig after her departure with Simple Minds was the turning point. “Bruce [Findlay] had got me a lighting job for a band that I didn’t really know. It was a short tour down the south of the country. I was travelling in a van with a band I didn’t really know with material I wasn’t familiar with and it felt really odd. That was when I decided that I didn’t really want to continue with the lighting tech jobs. I certainly felt uncomfortable at the prospect of working freelance.”

Jaine then started helping David and Jacquie out at the Hellfire Club. One of the bands to rehearse and record demos at the venue was The Dreamboys, a post-punk band consisting of members that included Twelfth Doctor, Peter Capaldi, and “TV’s” Craig Ferguson – mercurial comedian and host of late night U.S. talk show The Late Late Show before James Corden took over the role in 2015. Jaine became The Dreamboys manager but the band were short lived, splitting up as Capaldi got more acting work. The final death knell for the band being Capaldi landing a role in the film Local Hero.

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Pictured L-R: Laura Mazzolini (Sophisticated Boom Boom), Jim McKinven (Altered Images) Jacqueline Bradley, Scott McArthur (Graffiti record store and JATSA band manager), Peter Capaldi, David Henderson, Temple Clark, Craig Ferguson (Capaldi, Clark and Ferguson all members of The Dreamboys). Photo by Roddy Murray.

Jaine then worked for a time at the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow in the promotions department. Hearing this had me asking her the question I had posed to Jim several times but never got a response for. Semi Monde, the Noel Coward play, made its theatrical debut at the Citizens in 1977. I had to ask whether she knew if Jim had seen it and if it was the inspiration for the line in Sons And Fascination (this has always intrigued me). She couldn’t say whether Jim had seen the play, but she had been lucky enough to see it herself. “I saw quite a few shows there. My parents would take me to see shows there when I was younger, so when the opportunity arose to work there, I was really excited at the prospect. I really enjoyed my time there. It was hard work, but it was great.”

Working at the Citizens lead on to working for Raindog, the theatre company started by actors Robert Carlyle and Alexander Morton. The name of the company struck initial interest for Jaine. “I am a huge Tom Waits fan, so I asked Bobby (Carlyle) about the name, wondering if he was also a Tom Waits fan.”

Early on during our conversation, Jaine interviewed me as much as I interviewed her. It was a great ice-breaker. These things can be nerve-wracking for both parties. Me, under the pressure of keeping an air of professionalism, but hoping for a smooth and relaxed flow of conversation; Jaine, perhaps apprehensive about sharing certain things and feeling trepidation over questions I may ask, being understandably guarded, living a life in relative obscurity.

We talked about our school experiences. Me relaying my leaving school at a very young age due to bullying. Younger than Jaine herself was at sixteen. By that time she was wary of academia. Her mother, a teacher, was Jaine’s own teacher during her final two years of school. Something one can only imagine is wrought with its own unique set of problems. We shared a common leveller, so to speak, with a common kind of circumstance, but with a different view of pursuit.

I left school early because of the bullying, but felt cheated that I was taken away from the education I craved. I wanted to continue study and I had academic pursuits in mind. My mind, I felt back then, was not the mind of a creative or artistic person. I loved science, mathematics and history. That’s where I wanted my future to be. Jaine didn’t feel the need to pursue higher education. She was good at English and could have followed artistic pursuits at a higher education level, but preferred to leave school and get on with getting out there and living it.

And she made a life for herself getting out there and doing it. One that saw her involved in the arts in one form or another throughout her life.

Asking Jaine of her memories of the tours I asked if she had any favourite gigs from her time as lighting tech. “Les Bains Douche in Paris. I love Paris, and this particular venue was really trendy and arty. It had sunken baths in it or something like that.” (In fact it seems to have been a multi-functioning venue – concert hall, discotheque, restaurant and bar with an in-ground swimming pool as its main focal point). “It was an amazing place to play in. Also Kant Kino in Berlin was very cool.”

My final question to Jaine was “what are your favourite Simple Minds songs of the period?”
“Someone Somewhere In Summertime is one. I really like that. Of the earlier stuff? There’s one called [In Your] Room that’s really good. These two are my particular favourites.”

My thanks to Jaine for affording me the time for the interview. Her time was greatly appreciated.

The final words I shall leave to Jim. What follows is an extract of a post from Simple Minds Official Facebook page in which Jim talks of Jaine on what had been a recent visit to Sicily, highlighting the intrinsic role Jaine (along with others) played for the early Simple Minds.

“They say that ‘No man is an island.’ I would add to that ‘No band is an island’. And what I mean is that for Simple Minds to happen, it took more than just a bunch of musicians (no matter how talented) getting in a room together. That in my view is often the end product.

The real beginning for any artist is the scene that you grow out of. The people you hung out with. Those who influenced, unknowingly of course, turning you on to all manner of new stuff. Could be music, films, theatre, fashion, books. You name it? In doing so they all help create the landscape that gives birth to your own imagination. And at the end of the day creativity is largely all about imagination, and how much of it that you really have?

All I can tell you now is that Simple Minds owe a ton of our success to all the other Glasgow kids that we hung out with back in the day. They all helped set our imagination on fire. That fire still burns and their influence is very much still a part of us.”